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Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

Species Code: TYAL

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Breeding Range Map
The green area shows the predicted habitats for breeding only.
© NatureMapping Program

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Predicted breeding range

= Core Habitat


Barn Owl

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Breeding Range Map
The green area shows the predicted habitats for breeding only. The habitats were identified using 1991 satellite imagery, Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA), other datasets and experts throughout the state, as part of the Washington Gap Analysis Project. Habitats used during non-breeding months and migratory rest-stops were not mapped.

NatureMapping observations map   Map with Breeding Bird Atlas records
Observations | Historic GAP points

This species is uncommon in eastern Washington at lower elevations, closely associated with agricultural areas and the availability of basalt cliffs for nesting. These owls are local in western Washington, occurring in open areas including farms, non-forested parks, wetlands, and clear-cuts. They are also found west to Ocean Shores in Grays Harbor County and Willapa Bay in Pacific County in similar habitats.

Zones below Silver Fir were core areas of use on the west side. On the east side, steppe zones were core, plus forested zones up to the Grand Fir zone in the western Klickitat County area and the Ponderosa Pine zone in Spokane County. On the west side, it is common in parks agriculture, fresh water/wetlands, and forest openings, except along the west slope of the Cascades, where only agriculture was included. In steppe zones, all habitats except mid- to high-density development and conifer forest were good; east-side forest zones were treated similarly, except all forest was excluded.

Washington breeders represent the North American subspecies T. a. pratincola. Formerly known as the Common Barn-Owl; the name was abbreviated in 1989. The eastern Washington birds have adapted well to agricultural conversion, and are mostly found associated with that habitat and riparian areas near irrigated agricultural habitats. This species is documented as having cliff-nesting habits. Large haystacks are also used, causing some difficulty (for both owls and farmers) when the haystacks are moved during the breeding season. Old barns and buildings are used less commonly in eastern Washington, as they have been usurped in many cases by Great Horned Owls. The exact range limit of this species is difficult to ascertain due to scarcity of data.

Translated from the Washington Gap Analysis Bird Volume by Uchenna Bright
Text edited by Gussie Litwer
Map by Dave Lester